Millie Hamner, the Democrat in the contest for state House District 61, deserves your vote.
Hamner, of Dillon, is one of two candidates in the race who have experience in the Legislature. The other is Kathleen Curry, who formerly represented the district but lost her seat not long after she abandoned the Democratic Party in 2009 and became an independent candidate.
In 2010, Hamner was appointed to her legislative post by the state Democratic Central Committee when House District 56 incumbent Christine Scanlan resigned from the seat to join Gov. John Hickenlooper's new administration. Though she currently represents House District 56, her place of residence was redrawn into District 61 during December's redistricting process in the state General Assembly.
She is a former superintendent of schools in Summit County and has proven to be a tireless supporter of education funding. Hamner successfully pushed a bill to strengthen the state's stalking laws in the wake of the 2010 death of a Leadville woman at the hands of her stalker.
In a recent interview with The Aspen Times, Hamner said she would make long-term improvements to Interstate 70 a priority and that she supports transportation options that seek to improve connectivity among mountain resorts. She also supports various initiatives that aim to create jobs, such as the Hire Colorado plan, which would ensure that Colorado companies get the first crack at state projects.
Hamner is adamantly pro-choice and says she will work to maintain funding for Planned Parenthood. She also supports efforts to improve the health of area forests and was involved in legislation to create forest-restoration jobs for youths.
Curry certainly is capable and has shown an interest in working to protect the public lands in the Thompson Divide area, northwest of Aspen, from natural-gas-drilling projects. In fact, we have agreed with much of what she has stood for over the years.
But "capable" does not necessarily mean "effective." Curry ruffled a lot of feathers in the legislature when she left her longtime party, and her actions also didn't sit well with many local officials who felt that they should have been consulted. Though she continues to have ties here, we question whether she would be able to work with most Aspen and Pitkin County officials seeking assistance from the state Capitol. A lot of her broken connections have yet to be mended.
The choice is clear: Millie Hamner for state House District 61.